I am looking to start a business in the United States with my Business partner(US Citizen). So far, I have opened an American bank account, transferred the initial capital, and I'm prepared to start investing into the start-up costs. Our business plan we need to provide to immigration is almost complete, minus the start-up investments. I need to enter the US and purchase goods and equipment, as well as secure business licenses. I am a Canadian citizen and I'm concerned about crossing the border while conducting business. How do I demonstrate to the border agents what my business in the US will be? I'm aware as a Canadian, we're issued B-1 visas at the border, I just want to make sure I have the right information.
Yes, as a Canadian citizen entering the US from either a pre-clearance airport located in Canada or land border port of entry, you need to declare your purpose as "Business" visitor entering to conduct "business" activities, such as "setting up" or "finalizing" your Investment Business, and that soon after that you will be applying for an E-2 visa at the US consulate in Toronto (Vancouver no longer accepts those). Note that as a Canadian citizen, if successful, you'll be issued a 5 year, multiple-entry E-2 visa.
No need to apply for E-2 with USCIS (cannot apply with CBP, unlike other categories where Canadians can). If you do, all USCIS can do is issue you E-2 "status", as opposed to consular "visa", which it cannot, and that 'status" will only be valid for 24 months at a time.
If my answer is the "BEST ANSWER" and/or "HELPFUL" please mark it accordingly. Fluent in 7 languages. Certified Specialist in U.S. Immigration & Nationality Law, The State Bar of California, Board Of Legal Specialization. 23 years of successful immigration law experience. The answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.
You need to fully declare your purpose for entering the country. You are authorized to engage in business activities such as consulting with business associates, attending conventions or conferences on specific dates, settling an estate, and negotiating a contract while in the United States with a B-1 visa. If any meetings are planned, you should have documents confirming them.
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You are permitted to enter the U.S. in B-1 status in order to engage in some limited business activities related to preparations for filing an application for an E-2 visa. Please schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer for additional information and assistance.
This information does not establish an attorney-client relationship or any responsibility or liability on the part of the attorney for actions taken by the recipient arising from having read this information. The recipient of the information is advised to contact an experienced attorney for a formal consultation regarding this matter.
It sounds like you are on the right track. Any evidence that you have to show what your plans are, including a statement from your business partner, would probably answer any questions related to your admission.
These responses are general and could vary depending on individual facts. As always, it is best to seek the advice of an attorney when pursuing any immigration benefit.
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